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Affordable housing is a top issue in Wood River Valley elections

A view looking down on the city of Ketchum with yellow trees during fall and mountains in the background.
Rachel Cohen
/
Boise State Public Radio
Ketchum, Idaho

Affordable housing has been a top concern among Wood River Valley communities during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Sun Valley Economic Development reported Blaine County had seen an estimated five years’ worth of population growth in 16 months.

Compared with 2019, the median purchase price so far this year for a two-bedroom in Blaine County is up 62%, and the advertised rental price for a 2-bedroom unit is up 48% compared with 2019, according to the Blaine County Housing Authority.

Now, discussions about how to address the issue are continuing into campaign season.

Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw is up for reelection, and has three challengers: Spencer Cordovano, Perry Boyle and David Barovetto.

Some of the candidates support Bluebird Village, an affordable housing project that's design was recently approved by the city; Boyle opposes it.

Boyle and Cordovano both propose action to regulate or limit short-term rentals; the current city administration discussed requiring short-term rental owners to obtain permits this summer, but has not moved forward on those rules thus far.

Ketchum city council members Courtney Hamilton and Amanda Breen are seeking reelection, and are running against Mickey Garcia, Gwen Raney and Reid Stillman for two seats. Raney is running on a platform to protect Ketchum's small town character and Stillman was active in affordable housing demonstrations in the city this spring.

In Hailey, current council members Heidi Husbands and Kaz Thea are running to keep their seats, and have two and one challengers respectively.

More stories on affordable housing in the Wood River Valley

Idaho Mountain Express hosts candidate forums